Saturday, March 11, 2006

March 11

How Could Anyone Oppose This Bill?

Late Friday afternoon House Judiciary Chariman Joseph Vallario called for a vote on House Bill 320 that would strenghthen Witness Intimidation Reforms for the most vulnerable victims of crime, women and children victims of felony sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse.

The Committee (mostly defense attorneys) voted to kill the bill despite statewide support by family advocates and prosecutors.

Last year, State's Attorney Jessamy referred to the passage of the Witness Intimidation Bill (House Bill 188), as a "toothless tiger" noting that victims of first-degree child abuse, including instances of physical abuse such burning and starvation, were not included and had no better protections against intmidation. She cited many high-profile child abuse cases in Baltimore that would not be included in the new law. In addition she noted that intimidation, as against the Dawson family, was also not covered by the new law and therefore the law did not go far enought to protect all victims in cases of threats and intimidation.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Counting Ghosts

There were really 293 homicides in Baltimore City in 2005, if you include "justified," vehicular manslaughter deaths (Though not victims like Matt Stoffel, who was killed when his head was impaled on a pole by his drunk friend's driving, an offense that would be charged as vehicular manslaughter anywhere else) and cases of death in state custody, a la Raymond Smoot.

A remarkable 47 of 2005's homicides are John Does, and one (actually 15-year-old Blanca Dubon) is listed as a Jane. But most of the unnamed 48 were black, male and shot to death, age uncertain. Oddly, 19 people were charged with murdering an unidentified victim.

Twenty-seven of the murder or attempted murder victims were white, five were Hispanic (two Does), two were Asian, five were of unknown or unlisted race. 254 victims were black.

Of 2005's murders, about half are open. There are 110 victims with cases pending. Overall, 26 of 2005's murder cases (about 7 percent) have been cleared, if you define that as ending in any kind of conviction, or the death being found justified or by the death of the main suspect. Three were cleared by the Year and a day rule (and we all thought it was just an urban legend).

Here are the 141 identified victims of open homicides, the rest are unidentified with no suspect:
Melanie Davis, 54; Louise Blanding, 76; William Brown, 50; Andre Dyer, 37; Anthony Lewis, 36; D'Onte Hopkins, 20; Devon Richardson, 18; Lamont Reid, 43; Ricco McKinney, 29; Theodore Burrell, 21; Eric Pinkney, 19; Lynwood McCaffity, 28; Larry Jackson, 38; Keith Smith, 24; Antwan Taylor, 20; Janerio Richardson, 47; Janice Ruffin, 41; William Brown, 50; Maurice Collick, 43; Travis Coles, 37; Darryl Smith, 19; Raymond Sakievich (W), 46; Everette Owens, 29; Emmanuel Wheele, 20; Leonard Betts, 26; Harold Giddings, (another white guy) 48; Lornell Williams, 31; Michael Goodwin, 20; Jessie Peay, 19; Roman Paige, 16; Sonti Hayes, 30; Steven Ray Kaham, 40; Gary McFadden, 27; Davon Atkinson, 25; Kwesi Owens, 22; Shadrick Woah-Tee, 39; Brandon Allison, 24; Garnett Vinson, 16; Robert Litlle, 88; Nachia Carter, 23; Anthony Warren, 36; Yavonnie Dowell, 20; Deonte Brown, 19; Deonte Pettiford, 19; Montez Gibson, 22; Jabril Jasin, 21; Ralph Arrington, 27; Mark Gardner, 24; John Kendrick, 55; Antonio Fox, 20; Mustafa Aleem, 21; Kevin Dozier, 19; Garry Berrie, 21; Anthony Boyce, 19; Michael Grimes, 27; Bobby Anderson, 35; Kevin Carmody, 36; Caprice Jackson, 31; Tanisha Hawkins, 26; Michael Guy, 20; Antwoine Mclain, 22; Ffloyd Harp,26; Samuel Umstead, 39 (WG #3) Charles Harris, 43; Jamie Parker, 27; Marvin Raines, 18; Lamar Robinson, 26; Donyae Bogues, 30; Roy McCray, 46; Eugene Carr, 23; Desean Dorsey, 28; Clinton Young, 43; Damon Wilder, 21; Tyler Hope, 3; Dante Jordan, 26; Aaron Benefield, 19; Melvin Pretlow, 25; Anthony Jackson, 26, J-Trimae Hyman, 16; Devril Burrell; David Howard, 19, Craig Crowder, 34; Gary Robinson, 28; George Buggs, 31; Dulani Watkins, 22; Donta Chandler, 29; Willie Hubbard, 36; Richard Boroughs, 25; Harry Johnson, 34; Leamon Tyrone, 39; Earl Tilman, 19; William Craig, 58; Darryl Outlaw, 32; Shannon Jemmison, 30; Brandon Lee, 25; Ruthie Melvin, 46; Charles Duvall, 69; Kevin Baylor, 20; Darrius Brown, 21; Anthony McCray, 33; Samuel Shufford, 48; Jerrod Byers, 22; Andrew Faison, 27; Sandy Crawford, 39; Bruce Turner, 36; Shanika Pretlow, 26; Bradley Giddins, 19; Vernon Carter, 24; Andre Grice, 19; Dominic King, 20; Daryl Davis, 28; Kenneth Thomas, 32; Davon Eady, 30; Sherman Downing, 32; Corey Wyatt, 28; Willie Capers, 45; Thomasine Evans, Spencer Penn, 22; Christino Purisima, 27 (Hispanic); Tony Campbell, 51; Raphael Grandy, 18; Don Johnson, 18; Troy Marine, 30; Eric Smith, 39; Ronald Gervin, 22; Byron Bell, 24; Mohamed Barre, 26; Talib Damon, 21; Timothy Ford, 23; Lorenzo Handy, 67, Thaddeus Riley, 43; Michael Dredden, 19; Raynard Thames, 19; Nigel Tyson, 19; Anthony Scott, 50; Adrian Outten, 19; Shanica Artis, 16; Johnathan Coles, 23; Dahuan Jones, 20.

Nine percent of 2005's cases involving a white victim and 56 percent of cases involving a black victim are open.

So where did the Magic Homicide number of '05, 269 (or 272), come from? Anyway, there's the difference of the 19 homicides between what the Medical Examiner and the prosecutor's office say and what the BPolice reported. Who's to say what's true?

Math Dept.

In 2004, 301 people were murdered. Or what it 278? let's say 278.
Of these murders, 97 of the victims' cases ended in the punishment of somebody for something (anything from a handgun violation to Murder One), 34.8 percent.
38 cases are still pending 13.6 percent.
149 homicide cases, or 53.5 percent, remain open.
23 cases were found "justified."

Leonard Hamm earns more than the mayor, or the city's top lawyer.

According to the GBC, in 1995, Baltimore's 50,000 drug addicts were stealing at least $2.5 million worth of goods from citizens and tourists a day. They estimated that treatment was about seven times cheaper than incarceration.

March 10

The triple-murder trial of Derrick Taylor, 27, of the 4000 Block of Ridgecroft Road and Inshallah Owens El, aka Lisa Owens, 29, is scheduled to begin Monday morning before Judge Roger W. Brown. A Baltimore City Grand Jury indicted Taylor and Owens February 24, 2005 for three counts of first-degree murder and other counts. Court documents allege that on January 10, 2005 Taylor and Owens shot and killed Nathan Gulliver, 49, Antwon Arthur, 38, and Steven Matthews, 36, at a drug and alcohol recovery house in the at 540 block of West 27th Street.

The murder trial of Coketa S. Diggins, 19, and Terrance A. Smith, 24, is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Monday before Judge Alfred Nance. The Baltimore City Grand jury indicted Diggins and Smith March 11, 2005 for first-degree murder in connection with the fatal shooting of Reshawn Myers, 19. Court documents allege Diggins shot and killed Ms. Myers January 20, 2005 in the 5700 block of Chinquapin Parkway, and that Smith ordered Diggins to carry out this shooting.

A narcotics sting went wrong in Jim Kraft's district and an undercover officer shot a male suspect in the torso.

The Rice brothers' co-conspirator, Robert Lee Baker, 59, pled guilty to possession and conspiracy to distribute heroin (30 kilograms = 66 pounds).

Papel secante de Dick: A man stabbed Sidney Manley, 41, and John Harvey, 40, in the head with a pocket knife. Markie Elsey, 21 was arrested for rape, and Joshua Schlothauer, 21, was arrested for arson.

The commander of the BP homicide unit, Major Fahlteich, is in "quite a pickle" after leaving the scene of a (technically illegal) traffic stop after his Crown Vic bumped into a reckless-driving mom's minivan.

I love how Jim Kraft's name is spelled two different ways in this story. Mrs. J comes out a rose, as always. It's hard to mess with her-- she's a little grandma, Shirley from Good Times, a dab of St. Genevieve, elected with a mandate, accessoried for television, locking up bad guys. Time to send flowers. How can anyone be against hiring prosecutors? I'm still so confused...

In Dundalk, a 25-year-old high school teacher is accused of stealing from students' lockers.

Enough about the gays already! Maybe we should worry more about, say...
Carroll County, where Richard B. Davis is charged with raping two girls
... An Eastern Shore man, 54-year-old Leroy Banks, who was grounded for five months for sexually assaulting mentally disabled women in his care.
...And what's behind the sexual assaults at the Naval Academy? ... Ten drinks in 90 minutes.

This just in: a case of massive improper meat storage in Carroll County.

In the Post blotter, a PGC 16-year-old got five years in juvie for murder, a Fox news reporter, Darryn Moore, was arrested for domestic assault, two indecent exposeurs, a father got 20 years for beating his 4-month-old son to death.

BCrime Law of politics: if you're ever unsure what a politician's up to, look at whatever he's accusing his opponent(s) of doing. A cookie for close readers... Jessamy will be runnng for Mayor in '08.

In Annapolis, lawmakers had a ball when a doctor said "testicle."

The Wire is shooting at Guilford and Federal.

Thursday, March 9, 2006

Kraft vs. Jessamy vs. Rawlings vs. Clarke vs....

So what's up with the strange behavior of City Councilpeople Jim Kraft and Stephanie Rawlings-Blake? There's a budget meeting that's a total yawn (literally... that guy in the purple shirt needs to cover his mouth), then all the sudden, when Jessamy is in the middle of a sentence, Kraft bangs the gavel and declares the meeting recessed. I've seen the tape of the whole thing and you can't even tell what he was objecting to, it looked almost like he was frantic to get to the bathroom (and contrary to what the Sun says, there's no "shouting match." As Mary Pat Clarke said, "I have no idea what just happened here, other than incredible rudeness."

From what I can gather, unless Kraft had a bad hot dog for dinner, the City Council wants to audit the State's Attorney's office. The State's Attorney's office says, we'll give you any numbers you ask for, and we just gave you a bunch of numbers that you haven't even looked at. Why do you want to spend the cash money to audit us as to opposed to, say, the Police Department (BURN!)?

What's the deal with the City Council, anyway? Do they hold the purse strings of the city? I know they're elected by district, raise money and can do things like vote to pass noise and garbage ordinances, but what their actual powers and responsibilities are in relation to the Police and Prosecutors I have no clue.

UPDATE 3/13: Jessamy's office released this response:
Response to Executive Summary
Hearing on Operations of the Baltimore City State's Attorney's Office
Legislative Analysis
March 8, 2006

State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy has begun a review of the legislative analysis offered by the Committee Chairs at Wednesday's City Council hearing. She offers the following preliminary comments and will continue an exhaustive, full-review of the inaccurate data and statements offered in the report. Her analysis will be completed over the next several weeks and highlighted to the citizens of Baltimore and media.

There are several immediate and notable assessments regarding the Executive Summary that should be illuminated:

1. The State's Attorney learned AFTER the hearing Wednesday that the Budget and Public Safety Committees had initiated an independent legislative analysis report for the hearing. The report was not provided to the State's Attorney in advance, during or after the hearing. A State's Attorney staff member obtained a copy from a City Hall staff member the day after the hearing. At no time, before, during or since have the Chairs of the Committees offered the State's Attorney a copy of this report, nor was the State's Attorney aware that the Baltimore Police were asked to prepare a report.

2. The concluding recommendation in the Chair's report states that the hearing should be postponed for two weeks to allow for further analysis. This indicates that there was no intention to proceed with the hearing on Wednesday night. The courteous manner to handle this matter would have been a phone call to the State's Attorney in advance of the hearing to schedule a postponement.

3. The State's Attorney did bring to the hearing a 21-page report with accompanying statistical reports that addressed the correspondence from Councilman Kraft received 3 days earlier. At no point did Councilwoman Blake request any information regarding the budget hearing scheduled. The only requests received were from Councilman Kraft dated March 2 and March 3. The State's Attorney generated a 21-page response within 3-working {sic} days. Copies of the report were brought to the hearing and distributed.

4. A representative from the City Finance Department reported on the record at the Hearing that there had been several productive meetings and phone conversations between the city Finance department and the State's Attorney's Office relative to a caseload study. Discussions about the study were active and underway as reported by Mr. Wacks to the Chair and current discussions centered on how to best draft a Request for Proposal (RFP) that could potentially include the American Prosecutors Research Institute (APRI).

5. According to press reports, the report was prepared by City Hall and the Police Department, using police statistics, with no input from the State's Attorney's Office. It is curious that the Committee chairs asked a law enforcement agency, the Baltimore Police Department, whose data is currently under scrutiny, to assess the State's Attorney's performance. A preliminary check on this data show numerous errors in a "stealth" database that recorded conviction data – obvious errors include:

Item 1 in the “stealth” database – Deandre Whitehead is a defendant in a well-known 2004 murder case in Baltimore that involved witness intimidation of the state’s 11 yr. old witness. The database lists this case as a nol pros, and evidence of poor performance. In fact, Deandre Whitehead had a jury trial and was found not guilty. The SAME day the city jury reached a not guilty verdict State's Attorney Jessamy called the US Attorney who investigated and indicted the case for Solicitation to Commit a Crime of Violence. Whitehead pled guilty and has been sentenced to 10-years in federal prison.

6. The Committee report references per capita analysis for crime statistics and funding, which is highly irregular for crime analysis in Baltimore, particularly analysis offered by the Baltimore Police Department. This is an unusual departure, since the Baltimore Police Department rarely references trend analysis using per capita assessments of crime. If the police compare per capita trends, they would need to compare our office to efforts in Detroit, the most violent city in the nation, with Baltimore as the second most violent city in the nation. The police would also find that claims of great violent crime reductions significantly overstated when compared to drops in population.

Comparing spending per capita is not accurate unless the jurisdictions are of like size, with similar crime statistics and perform identical functions. In MD, the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office is the only jurisdiction operating a 24-hour charging center and a 24-hour war room operation. Additionally, jurisdictions such as NY do no prosecute juveniles or perform other functions performed by Baltimore prosecutors. Using a per capita analysis is a blatant attempt to deceive.

7. Until FY'2006, the only staff increases for the Baltimore City State's Attorney’s Office provided by Mayor O'Malley was {sic} funding for 3 new trial prosecutors. The record setting FY'05 and FY'06 increases noted in the report are actually the result of a January 2005 increase for salary parity and the transfer of 29 old grant positions from grants to the general fund. Some new positions (24-hour expansion of the War Room and establishing the Collateral Unit) were recommended for funding at the Mayor's request and not at the request of the State's Attorney.

8. Over the past 10-years {sic} State's Attorney Jessamy has outlined a very specific plan regarding violent crime reduction in the city, specifically linking guns, drugs and violence. Her 3-pronged approach to crime was first outlined in 1997 in a letter to Mayor Schmoke and has been periodically updated and strengthened by meetings with local, state and federal law enforcement partners as well as citizens, community partners and criminal justice agencies and the implementation of new initiatives. The State's Attorney obtained state and federal grant funding to expand homicide prosecution and create the F.I.V.E (Firearms Investigation Violence Enforcement) Division in 1997 to prosecute non-fatal shooting and weapons violations. She has adjusted the plan to a succession of 7 new police commissioners and acting commissioners under Mayor O’Malley. The most significant update occurred just recently. The State's Attorney Office was recognized as a key motivator and facilitator in the revitalized EXILE felony gun prosecution partnership between the United States Attorney's Office, the Baltimore Police Department and the State's Attorney’s Office as well as numerous federal, state and local law enforcement partners. EXILE was memorialized in a signed Memorandum of Understanding drafted by the State's Attorney's Office.

9. State's Attorney Jessamy meets regularly with the Police Commissioner and his command staff to offer suggestions to:

-Improve the quality of arrests in Baltimore,
-Train officers to improve police investigations
-Coordinate training initiatives to train detectives to testify in court"

March 9

Blotter: Darryl Chase was arrested for the murder of 20-year-old David Anderson, who was shot to death on Father's Day in front of his neices. Anderson threw his body across the girls to shield them from gunfire, and they were unhurt. Also two shootings and an attempted-murder arrest.

John Glover Jr. of Harrisburg, PA was charged with murder in connection to the burning body of Wesley Person, found near 83 last Christmas Eve.

On Tuesday the Feds unsealed the indictment of Jarvis Lloyd Brooks, Eugene Jeffrey Jenkins, Stephen Leroy Cure, Tracy Delong Fletcher and Eric Thomas of Bowie and Charles Edward Harrison of Upper Marlboro for crimes committed in connection with a conspiracy to commit bank larceny by stealing ATMs. Says Rosenstein's office, the two-count indictment charges the defendants with conspiracy to commit bank larceny by stealing several ATMs in various locations in Prince George's County and also attempting to steal construction equipment for use in the thefts.

Cable monopoly Comcast is getting everyone in trouble: first Shiela Dixon, then Kendel Ehrlich, and now the governor himself is being accused of conflict-of-interest for allowing the cable company to direct their corporate taxes to a Delaware holding company, and to lay cable in a protected wetlands area.

In PG County, the main suspect in the murder of Calida Williams, Dernard Mason, was sniped by Corporal Francis A. Masino, who, according to the Post, has been accused of misconduct in the past.

In AA County, Marcus Christian, who stabbed his former Jessup trailer-mate 62 times, was found guilty of second-degree murder. Also, 28-year-old Elizabeth Kiss got two years for illegally obtaining OxyContin.

Wednesday, March 8, 2006

March 8

Did you know? You can track the custody status of offenders online, and find out when their upcoming "court event(s)" are.

Curtis Lomax, 22, was fatally stabbed with a mystery implement on the 1200 block of W. North Avenue, bringing the YTD total to 49.

James Reid pled guilty today to one count of witness intimidation. He was sentenced to five years in prison, to be served concurrently with a life sentence he recieved last July. Court documents allege on March 8, 2005 Reid wrote a letter to an associate identifying the victim of a non-fatal shooting and instructed the associate to "deal with" the witness. Reid had been identified as the suspect in the non-fatal shooting.

Ink: Five murders last week-- and for the first time this year (unless you count the week when there were no murders) The Sun managed to report them all!

A teenage girl was stabbed by a illegal cab-driver. Mark B. Walker, 79, was charged with attempted murder and possession of a deadly weapon.

Dept of Bad Excuses: "I didn't do it for that long, you weren't even awake." -- Midshipman Lamar Owens

Five children, including a boy who says he's the son of death-row inmate Vernon Evans Jr., were found home alone in the Pimlico area.

Speaking of child molesters, if Teri Hatcher is typical, that means one in four molestation victims will prosecute-- 30 years after the fact. Which means that there are about 400 child molesters in the 21218.

Correction: Judge John Glenn is not elfin.

Tuesday, March 7, 2006

March 7

Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services report: 21,721 African-Americans in Baltimore were arrested but not charged in a year (!). Grand Jury report: arrests without merit border on constitutional violation. (Maybe we should just classify them as "enemy combatants.")

Mere days after Ronald Ector was indicted for impersonating a deputy U.S. marshal, scary-looking felon Karl Glenn Salenieks of Crofton was arrested for impersonating an officer and illegally possessing handguns and a taser, among other things. Yipes.

Blotter: Man stabbed in the lower back in the Southeastern, a woman robbed of $40 after being struck on head with metal pipe, a robbed High's, a robbed McDonald's, a stolen Soviet rifle.

A 13-year-old boy robbed a man getting off of a bus in the Northeastern, using a semi-automatic weapon with a laser sight and a 33-round clip.

"Benjie" Evans, wanted for murder in Annapolis, was apprehended.

The Pumpkin and Honey Bunny of Dundalk, James and Carol Sparacco, were arrested and charged with eight counts of armed robbery.

A 26-year-old man, Ramon Pena, was pulled over on 95 for tailgating ... and was arrested when cops found 174 pounds of cocaine bricks (79 kilograms? Welcher Kontinent das WBAL an ist?) and $22,000 in cash in the car.

How cute: in Carroll County a boy faces suspension for bringing brass knuckles to school.

Where are all these pedophiles coming from? Brian Trimble pled guilty to attempting to buy child pornography from a postal inspector.

In Landover, the death of Calida Williams, a 28-year-old mother whose body was found in her burning apartment, was ruled a homicide.

Monday, March 6, 2006

March 6

Should the Rice brothers potentially get away with double murder because they made a plea agreement for a previous bunch of charges? One wouldn't think so, but it sounds like that was the norm ... until Rod J. Rosenstein came to town. Love him.

Blotter: A 17-year-old boy was shot in the back and a woman was shot in the knee in the Northeastern.

In Jessup, 27-year-old James Darnell was indicted on eight counts related to an attempted rape and burglary allegedly commited within a day after he was released on bail while awaiting trial on similar charges.

In Bel Air, trial for involuntary manslaughter is scheduled to start Wednesday for a second defendant, Elaine Bulter, in the case of the 16-month-old boy who died of a methadone overdose.

Sunday, March 5, 2006

March 5

Larry Haynes, 30, was found shot to death on the 2400 block of Jefferson Street. Joseph Schlick, 25, was shot in the head in the Southwestern and remains in "grave" condition. Joseph Schlick, 25, was shot in the head in the Southwest during an argument.

Police are seeking Derrick Lamont Brown, 21, for the murder of Benjamin Philip Evans in Annapolis.

Death-faking, gambling, suspicious fires... Cynthia Jean McKay of the Millersville body-burning case is starting to sound like MD's answer to Sante Kimes. And ladies, should you ever be accused of a horrible crime, try this: "a detective told McKay's then-lawyer that he had planned to question her about the embezzlement and the fire. But McKay became distraught and began to cry."

Human remains were found in Dorchester County.

The arrests at Kawasaki buck a national trend: though Maryland's illegal immigrant population has doubled in the past four years, the INS fines for businesses employing illegal workers about 10 times less frequently than in '92.

In Columbia, an employee at the Lonestar Steakhouse stabbed another worker with (what else?) a steak knife.

Crimes against our culture dept: John Travola has been cast as Edna Turnblad in a Hairspray movie remake.